MNCLegal What We Do

Eligibility

Mid North Coast Legal Centre is a community legal centre. We are an independent, not-for-profit organisation that offers free legal services, including information, advice, advocacy and education.

MNCLC can help people living in the following areas:

  • MidCoast (Taree)
  • Port Macquarie-Hastings
  • Kempsey Shire
  • Nambucca Shire
  • Bellingen Shire
  • Coffs Harbour (south of Woolgoolga)

We cannot provide advice in relation to the following areas of law:

  • Personal Injury Law
  • Commercial Law
  • Property Law
  • Property Settlements in Family Law
  • Immigration Law

We cannot provide advice to:

  • Employers in their capacity as employers
  • Landlords
  • Business owners

Domestic & Family Violence

Mid North Coast Legal Centre provides accessible, integrated legal support services to people who have experienced family and domestic violence.
We can provide specialist domestic and family violence casework and support services including:

  • Support and referrals
  • Legal advice & advocacy
  • Risk assessment

We offer specialist support to people who have experienced family and domestic violence, with a focus on assisting those who may have difficulty accessing the justice system or other services. We offer both legal and non-legal assistance to provide an integrated service that supports a broad range of needs for people within our community who may have experienced violence, including:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Young people
  • People who live with disabilities
  • Recently arrived migrants and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

Law for Young People

Mid North Coast Legal Centre provides accessible, integrated legal support services to young people who need advice and assistance to exercise their rights. Some things we can help with include:

  • Experiences of Out of Home Care
  • Driving and licensing
  • Employment law problems (for example, bullying or discrimination at work, underpayment of wages and entitlements, or unfair dismissal)
  • Owing and being owed money (including fines and mobile phone debt)
  • Victims’ support services
  • Consumer law issues
  • Complaints about police
  • Problems at home

We can assist young people 25 years of age and younger across our catchment and if we cannot assist, we will try to find a service that can help with your issue.

LevelUP Program
LevelUP was a project originally funded by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW in 2017. The project came to an end in December 2019, however MNCLC has continued to work with vulnerable young people through our ongoing funding. If you would like to read our final report and recommendations, please click here: LevelUP: An innovative legal project to help young people in Out of Home Care

Young people transitioning from Out of Home Care (OOHC) to independence are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in our community. Many of the problems of disadvantage have a civil legal dimension. LevelUP demonstrated that the help of a lawyer can make a big difference to a young person, particularly those who have had a care experience.

There has been a substantial increase over recent years in the number of children and young people entering OOHC. Of all jurisdictions, NSW currently has the highest rate of children in OOHC and there has been a significant increase in recent years in the numbers remaining in OOHC for longer periods. Not only have the numbers of those young people entering OOHC increased, but many of those who enter the OOHC system are increasingly disadvantaged; presenting increasingly complex needs. Our lawyers can help work through the experiences of a person who has lived in OOHC and identify some of the issues where we can help. We can take referrals from community workers or from young people who contact us directly on 6580 2111.

Embedded School Lawyer Program
MNCLC offers an Embedded School Lawyer Program at Macleay Valley Workplace Learning Centre in Kempsey once a month. A MNCLC solicitor spends half a day at the school where they talk to young people about their legal issues or questions they may have.

The program aims to provide access to legal assistance for those who would not otherwise have it, and to help students know their rights.
Macleay Valley Workplace Learning Centre plays an important part in the Community by catering for students from Year 9 to Year 12 (14 years of age onwards) who have fallen out of mainstream education, providing a supportive and flexible environment where students can develop a sense of belonging, pride, personal identity and cultural awareness.

MNCLC also organises regular legal education for students, where they learn about the law and how it frames and impacts on their lives now and into adulthood.
The program is flexible, students can see a solicitor in a place they feel comfortable and there is no limitation around appointment times or travel. Importantly, the project has a big focus on early intervention and prevention.

Law for Older People

Mid North Coast Legal Centre provides accessible, integrated legal support services to older people who are experiencing elder abuse or need assistance with planning ahead. Some things we can help with include:

  • Powers of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship
  • Financial exploitation and banking issues
  • Age discrimination
  • Victims’ support services
  • Owing and being owed money (including fines and mobile phone debt)
  • Driving and traffic offences
  • Consumer Law (services and products)

MNCLC is committed to identifying and addressing legal problems impacting older people. Elder abuse is mistreatment of an older person that is committed by someone with whom the older person has a relationship of trust such as a partner, family member, friend or carer. Elder abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect. Sometimes family, friends and carers may not know that their actions amount to elder abuse.

Disability Law NSW

Disability Law NSW  employs solicitors within the MNCLC legal practice to provide legal advice and support to people with a disability who are clients of Disability Advocacy NSW.
Some areas of law covered by Disability Law NSW:

  • Discrimination
  • Domestic violence
  • Administrative law – including pensions, National Disability Insurance Scheme, benefits, and allowances.
  • Government freedom of information and privacy
  • Consumer law
  • Credit and debt law
  • Fines
  • Employment law – including conditions and entitlements
  • Minor criminal or criminal processes – limited to advice and referral

Practice examples:

  • Advice for people with disability subject to Guardianship disputes.
  • Advice and assistance in discrimination issues.
  • Assistance in obtaining records from the NSW Department of Health and the NSW Department of Education.
  • Assistance and advice in relation to Freedom of Information and Privacy claims.
  • Assistance and advice in relation to engagement with the Disability Royal Commission.
  • Assistance and advice in relation to difficulties accessing the NDIS.
  • Assistance in challenging a decision about the Disability Support Pension.
  • Assistance in challenging a Centrelink preclusion period.
  • Assistance with an unfair dismissal.

Disability Law NSW cannot provide advice in the following areas of law:

  • Property and conveyancing

     

  • Commercial law
  • Personal injuries
  • Immigration
  • Workers Compensation
  • Criminal law beyond advice and referral for minor criminal or criminal processes
  • Neighbourhood Disputes

Disability Law NSW is also involved in community education, systemic change, law reform and research to ensure that people with disability get fair treatment.
Disability Advocacy NSW covers around two thirds of NSW with offices in:

  • Coffs Harbour

     

  • Port Macquarie
  • Taree
  • Newcastle
  • Parramatta
  • Blue Mountains
  • Bathurst
  • Dubbo
  • Broken Hill
  • Tamworth
  • Armidale

For assistance first contact an Intake Advocate at Disability Advocacy NSW on:
[email protected] or 02 5519 8050
Monday- Friday 10am-4pm
DA Intake Advocates are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice.

Outreach Services

MNCLC provides legal advice and information for people living in the local government areas of Midcoast (Taree), Kempsey Shire, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Nambucca Shire, Bellingen Shire and Coffs Harbour (south of Woolgoolga).
We provide outreach to the following areas:

  • Manning Uniting Church, Taree
  • Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre, Kempsey
  • Macleay Valley Vocational College, Kempsey
  • The Rocks Information Centre, South West Rocks
  • Taree Local Court
  • Macksville Local Court
  • Mid North Coast Correctional Centre

To arrange an appointment at any one of our outreach clinics, please call 6580 2111.

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